måndag 14 februari 2011

The Bushbuddy as a multi-fuel stove

Heating water for coffee on a hot summers day in the Stockholm archipelago

The Bushbuddy is a superb wood-burning stove. This is a well known fact. However, what is less known is that just the pot-stand can work well with alcohol burners and Esbits too. The big advantage of this is that you can have a backup solution if the rain is just pouring down and you don't feel like testing your fire-making skills just at that moment.

The Bushbuddy pot-stand

I've read that some hikers used the Trangia alcohol burner with success. I have only tried with a homemade Pepsi-can stove and that worked very well and also has the advantage that it is extremely light.
When using either alcohol or Esbits, a windshield becomes much more important than when using just wood as fuel is not unlimited (I tend to use a windshield with wood as well to decrease the boil times.). I simply use a folded piece of aluminium from a take-away dinner package. Those who find that too simplistic can probably find themselves some nice titanium at a premium.

 Setup for Esbit use - note the use of the stone and aluminium foil to get the flame at a good distance from the pot

For the Esbits to work best it is important that the burning base is at a good distance from the pot. I don't know what the exact distance should be, but around 3 cm seems good. See this review of Esbit stoves for more info. In order to achieve this I put the Esbits on a stone and a piece of aluminium foil. A more sophisticated solution would be to use something like a Gram Cracker, but frankly this is such a simple thing to build yourself.

Esbits or Alcohol?
What fuel to take as a backup system is a tricky question. Alcohol is easy to find, but it is a more complicated setup and can also add quite a few grams if you have a heavy burner. The Trangia burner, and I guess others as well has the advantage that they can be used for simmering though. Esbits have the important advantage that you can use an Esbit tab as a firestarter in combination with wood. You can also fly with Esbits checked in as far as I know (I have asked and done so on an international flight with the Esbits in the checked-in luggage, but that is no guarantee that all airlines will accept it.).

Field testing?
When it comes to proper field testing on real hiking trips I'm afraid I have to leave that as an exercise to the reader. Even though I bring Esbits on my hiking trips I haven't needed them yet, but I haven't been on any longer trips either. So far I have always found wood even above tree-line in wet conditions. Nevertheless my backyard testing seemed to indicate that the boil times for around 5dl of water was about 6-7 minutes with four small Esbits and probably something similar for alcohol. Perfectly acceptable for solo use I think. It would be nice to know what other peoples experiences are.

12 kommentarer:

  1. Yep, always packed a few Esbit tabs with my Bushbuddy Ultra, just in case. Obviously you would never see me use them in the company of fellow UL backpackers. Pride would get in the way! ;)

  2. I would proudly display my Esbit tablets ;). I agree completely regarding the usefulness of Esbit with a bushbuddy. If I felt confident enough I would only take a BB and Esbit to Lapland this summer, I would not consider alcohol as a back up fuel because of the extra container weight, though carrying a small pepsi can burner may be a good idea as it could be used as an Esbit stand or with alcohol if needed.

    A gram cracker (or similar) will slow the speed of the burn of the Esbit down and may result in even better fuel usage figures. Certainly I have found that a 12 gm Esbit tablet will boil sufficient water (600 ml) for a meal and drink for me.

  3. Roger: Good comment about using the pepsi-can stove as a holder for the esbits. Upside down I guess. It is so light that the difference in weight is negligible. Mine weighs 5g. Mine is a bit too high though. I need to make smaller one to fit better. It might even save me a gram ; )

    Joe: If I had lived in a place as rainy as Bergen I would probably have used my esbits a long time ago. I think I read that some people use the alcohol stove in the morning in the tent vestibule to cook breakfast. Later on in the day they switch to wood again. This seems like a good comfortable solution.

  4. Gustav I have a redbull can size burner which fits nicely inside the BB stand. A picture of it can be seen on my blog.

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  6. During our Scotland trip we had both as a backup. We used alcohol mainly when cooking in our tent. The Esbit served as a stand alone option as well as firestarters when we were too lazy to work with proper tinder.

    As a stove I'd build a pepsican style stove optimized for the BB (diameter & high). For this I'd taken two cans of Strongbow (we were in Scotland after all!)
    When burning Esbit I simply flipped the pepsican over and used it's bottom for the Esbit tablet. Nothing extra required!

  7. Basti - Very interesting. Scotland is on my wishlist of places to go to. How did you find the Bushbuddy worked under scottish conditions? What were the main wooden fuels? How many Esbits and how much alcohol did you consume during the length of the trip?

  8. Den här kommentaren har tagits bort av skribenten.

  9. You can also try the bushbuddy inspired backpacking stove too. It's similar to the bushbuddy but less expensive. you can see them at www.solostove.com

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    The Bushbuddy is a fantastic wood-burning cooktop. This is a well known reality. However, what is less known is that just the pot-stand can perform well with liquor losing and Esbits too.

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